You had been in England for 18 months but had been home for a couple of weeks at Christmas with the new man in your life.
Mid 2004, we were delighted to hear you and Wally had decided to come and live in Australia to see how Wal liked it on a more permanent basis.
I met you both at the airport and within days, it was if you had never left.
You quickly found a teaching job and Wally became a jack of all trades; learning to carry bricks, do pest control and a host of other menial jobs. It must have been hard for a lily white, pom history teacher but you quickly settled into the share house at Lidcombe with Jason, and your old friends Kyle and ?????, Bodie the dog was back where he belonged, much to the relief of Sas and Douglas. I think one dog was more than enough for them and Jessie was pleased, not to have to compete for attention with the boisterous interloper.
Soon you were to move to your own place before buying a town house convenient to where you were both now teaching.
Your wedding in 2006 was a wonderful time for everyone, a host of Wally’s relatives came from England, the venue in the Hunter Valley, was the perfect setting on a sunny Saturday afternoon and evening to send you on your way.
Sas and Douglas, Bill and Chris, Billy and I; proud parents all, as the night became a fiesta of fun and laughter.
Bob’s stroke towards the end of 2007 and his death in April 2008 was a blow to all of us but no one, more than you. He had been more than a friend to you, more like a kindly extra grandfather. I could not help thinking it was for the best in the end. Bob may have lost his speech and movement but every time we visited him in the nursing home, it was obvious his brain was ticking away underneath and he did not like where he was, I think it was the Sunday afternoon singalongs that made him finally decide, he had had enough.
Bob’s funeral hit me hard, it had been only a few months since the visit to the Professor, I was not well and the future was still very clouded, the thought would not leave me; would I be next?
In 2009 you and Wally decided England was the place you wanted to live, once again we were at the airport, this time saying goodbye to two people.
There were already plans afoot for the baby you could not have, you had tried many methods including harvesting eggs from Jassie, but each attempt was marked by heartache.
We were surprised and a little shocked when the first plans for the Indian Surrogacy route were mooted, but you had done your homework thoroughly and had identified one particular clinic that seemed to have a perfect track record.
I am even now, in two minds about the ethics of third World Countries becoming baby factories for the West. The potential for exploitation and corruption is extremely high but you were relentless in your search for a Clinic that met the standards you had set.
You and Wally were desperate for a child of your own and Wally was intent on that child, being at least part, genetically linked.
No one, who is not in your position can be Judge or Jury. All we can do is support and encourage you to act in the very best way. The conversations were long and deep but eventually Sas, Douglas Billy and I, had to concede you had done everything possible to ensure things were above board and our support for your move was wholehearted after this period of doubt and questions.
On a personal level, it is hard to find a loser in the whole cycle.
There was no doubt you would make wonderful, loving parents the egg donor in India would be well compensated and the money used to support her own family, the Clinic which appeared to be a warm and caring place, employed many locals from a very poor area in a whole range of jobs, the surrogate mother received enough money to put her children through school, something she would not have been able to do otherwise and; you were adamant you wanted your child to know and understand his/ her Indian heritage.
On March 4 2010, Oliver was born and never has a child been more welcome than this miracle boy, Mum and Kayla went to India to share the experience with you.
I wish I could have been there with you as well, but I sobbed with joy when I saw the first photos of this beautiful new addition to our family. I still have the wonderful, cloth print of this tiny baby, sprawled on a very large bed. The joy in yours and Wally’s voices when we spoke, was more than enough to tell me this journey had been worth all the pain and indecision.
Love Ya Heaps